No question is more meaningless or unhelpful than ‘who has it worse?’
Naturally the answer most reach for is ‘women of course!’ And for a lot of places and for a lot of people, that is correct.
But not everywhere, or for everyone.
To find any sort of answer to the question of ‘who has it worse’, we also must ask: who are we talking about?
Where in the world are they from?
Are we talking about today, or a hundred years ago? And by what metric – is it education, health, happiness, safety, wealth, status… there’s so many variables to consider.
The Basic Indicator for Gender Inequality (the BIGI), might help shed some light.
Unlike other indexes of gender equality, such as the GGGR, the BIGI actually measures male disadvantage too, and plots the experiences of men and women, worldwide, on a simple graph that gives useful insights.
It tells us that in the world’s emerging nations, mostly those in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, women are disadvantaged, particularly in education.
Whilst as nations move up the development ladder, such as those in the West, it is men who are more disadvantaged - in life expectancy, health and also education.
BIGI is still one piece of an extraordinarily complex puzzle that we may never fully workout, but its answers move the needle of understanding forward, even just a little bit.
So let’s take a look:
Read the BIGI here bigi.genderequality.info
Images by Simone Secci, Mingwei Lim and Moren Hsu